Montaigne (1533-92), Skeptic & Ruminator: The Proto-Blogger! (with links to 7 BBC Programs on that Writer)

A pioneer of short essays! with inward ruminations… “I am my own subject.” and “What do I know?” Observations and opinions… This is before blog ads, mind you.

Here is a sample where he contrasts Friendship and Marriage:

“As concerning marriage, besides that it is a covenant, the entrance into which only is free, but the continuance in it forced and compulsory, having another dependence than that of our own free will, and a bargain commonly contracted to other ends, there almost always happens a thousand intricacies in it to unravel, enough to break the thread and to divert the current of a lively affection: whereas friendship has no manner of business or traffic with aught but itself.”

As a child, his father arranged that people only speak Latin with him, so it would be his first language. (Try that with your kids?)

Want to learn more? A friendly place to start is a recent episode on Melvin Bragg’s BBC show In Our Time, which gives an overview of the man:

Here’s a 25 minute Channel 4 (UK) youtube documentary on Montaigne (part of a series on Philosophy & Happiness):
(I hope you like harpsichord music.)

Wikipedia on Montaigne:

A gold mine of opinions on the original man with opinions! A series of 5 BBC radio programs… 5 writers/ thinkers consider Montaigne:

Plutarch inspired Montaigne… (Plutarch inspires the main character in my novel Mysterious Matters of Max Metters… this is what brought me to Montaigne.)

His essays in translation at Project Gutenberg:

Published in: on May 2, 2013 at 9:28 am  Comments (1)